North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey will speak during a service at the former Imperial Foods memorial site on the 30th anniversary of the tragedy on Friday, Sept. 3.
Commissioner Causey, who is also the State Fire Marshal, will be joined by Chief State Fire Marshal Brian Taylor in addressing the families and friends of those who died on Sept. 3, 1991. The Imperial Foods Memorial Service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at the corner of Bridges and Spear streets, Hamlet. In addition, Dr. Tommy Legrand will give the invocation and offer remarks.
In addition to the 25 who died, 54 others were injured in varying degrees.
Commissioner Causey also plans stops in Richmond County to present matching grants to volunteer fire departments and will travel to Anson County to present grants and honor a retired fire chief whose efforts to install smoke alarms is credited with saving the lives of five people.
Retired Wadesboro Fire Chief Marc Sessions, along with the Wadesboro Fire Department, will be given SAVE Awards, which go to firefighters and first responders who go above and beyond the call of duty.
On March 17, Wadesboro firefighters responded to a residential fire at an apartment. One adult and four children, ages 2 to 6, escaped a fire that started when a pizza box was left on the stove and one of the children accidentally turn on a stove burner. The fire department determined that retired Chief Sessions, who was passionate about making sure homes had working smoke alarms, had himself installed the alarm that saved their lives.
Commissioner Causey will also present ceremonial grant checks totaling more than $250,000 to 14 volunteer fire departments from Richmond and Anson counties. The money is part of a statewide matching grant program providing more than $9.8 million to 554 volunteer fire departments.
Here is Commissioner Causey’s public schedule for Friday:8:30 a.m. – Richmond County Emergency Services Department (Grant presentation) 200 Industrial Park Drive, Rockingham, N.C. 28379 10 a.m. – Imperial Foods Memorial Service Corner of Bridges and Spear Streets, Hamlet, N.C. 28345 11:30 a.m. – Wadesboro Fire Department (SAVE Awards and grant presentation) 111 S. Washington St., Wadesboro, N.C. 28170